Healthy Living

Signs and Symptoms of Jock Itch

Signs and Symptoms of Jock Itch

Key Takeaways

  • The infected area rises as if the skin is swelling upwards
  • Consistent itching makes the rash spread from its point of origin, traveling across the body in wavy patterns. 
  • The three stages of jock itch

It is treatable and definitely curable. It is a condition that primarily affects men, but it can occur in women as well. It is an uncomfortable and deeply irritating itch in your groin that refuses to go away. Caused by a fungus, it leaves a painful wavy rash in its wake. These are the signs and symptoms commonly associated with jock itch infection.

Stage I

It begins quite naturally with a little itch. It mostly affects the area of the groin just below the scrotum or vagina, in between the thighs. The infected surface upon closer examination will show a reddish coloration. Gradually, the area swells creating a raised, uneven surface.

The rash solidifies, becoming rough and patchy. The central portion will be comparatively tender to touch, and may ooze pus or light colored fluids with repeated scratching.

Stage II

The upper layer becomes transparent and fluid filled. A steady pain marks its debut especially when the rash is touched or when it rubs against a fabric.      

Repeated itching makes the rash spread from its point of origin, threading its way around in wavy patterns. The rash begins to assume a spiral contour that is clearly noticeable and typical of Jock Itch.

Stage III

If left untreated, the rash spreads to the genital area, especially the skin just below the scrotum in men, and the vagina in women. This happens to be an area that receives very little air, and remains warm and sweaty, which creates friction between the skin and fabric.

In extreme cases, the infection spreads to the back and buttocks, finding its way into the folds of the buttocks and the gluteal cleft (anal crack).

This is a complicated stage where symptoms of inflammation, or pain and itching become unbearable. Women typically see a whitish and pungent vaginal discharge that is typical of a yeast infection (Candida Albicans). In men, this could lead to an infection and inflammation of the tip of the penis and its foreskin.

The following complications may evolve in an advanced Jock Itch infection:

  • Cracking of the outer layer of skin - This is due to profound dehydration. This is often observed in diabetics.
  • Oozing sores – These are painful crusty blisters filled with pus, and occurs in people that suffer genetically inherited skin conditions.
  • Skin ulcers – These are sores that dot the crevices and folds of the skin beneath the bikini line, and in the region of the upper thighs. This is more prevalent in obese individuals.  
  • Cellulitis – Although the jock itch infection does not penetrate the inner layers of skin, breakages can create fissures of inflamed skin resembling ridges.

Jock Itch is region-specific

Pruritis is the name given to an itch that consumes the entire body surface, or appears randomly over the body and not in any particular location. Jock itch, on the other hand, is usually confined to the groin and appears in the skin folds of the upper thighs, near the genitals and within the cheeks of the buttocks surrounding the anus.

Skin appearance

At first glance, the affected skin will show red rashes of mildly swollen and infected skin forming wavy patterns in the groin. In some cases, instead of a red rash, small papules appear like red bumps surrounding each hair follicle.

For a dermatologist, one look at the affected skin is enough to identify the typically serpentine rashes of  jock itch. When symptoms are less identifiable, a swab of infected skin will be cultured to identify the pathogen.